Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Will You Live to Be 100?

Standard 6: Planning for Retirement

Susan McHale, Kristen Sublett, Niky Styers, Melissa Gunter | Published: November 22nd, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject Financial Literacy, Social Studies
  • Course Course Personal Financial Literacy
  • Time Frame Time Frame 200 minutes
  • Duration More 3-4 class periods


In this financial literacy lesson, students will explore the need to plan for retirement and discuss the amount of money that will be needed to retire comfortably. Students will investigate traditional ways to save for retirement, including personal savings, Social Security, mutual funds, 401K, IRAs, stocks, and bonds.

Essential Question(s)

Is it necessary to save for retirement? How do you save for retirement?



Students think about the oldest person they know. The class creates a Sticky Bars graph and draws conclusions from the collected data.


Students examine life expectancy versus retirement age. They calculate how much money someone might need to live on after they retire.


Students read about the benefits of savings and compound interest. With a partner, they compare the saving plans of three peers.


Students research different types of potential retirement income and report their findings to the class.


Students complete an Exit Ticket to reflect on what they have learned.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Compound Interest Student Reading (attached, one per student)

  • The Story of Kami and Jamil and Alex (attached, one per student)

  • The Story of Kami and Jamil and Alex Teacher Notes (attached)

  • Financial Resource Frayer Model (attached, one per student)

  • Financial Resource Links (attached, one per student)

  • Sticky notes (one per student)

  • Calculators

  • Chart tablet paper

  • Student devices with internet access


Use the attached Lesson Slides to guide the lesson. Begin the lesson by sharing the essential questions and lesson objectives on slides 3–4.

Display slide 5. Ask students to think about the oldest person they know. How old is that person? Do they know if that person is still working?

Engage students in a Sticky Bars activity. Recreate the chart from slide 5 on the board and pass out a sticky note to each student. Ask students to write the initials of the oldest person they know, that person's age, and whether that person is still working or is retired (no longer working). If students do not know a certain piece of information, they can write "don't know." Have students come to the board and place their sticky notes on the bar graph in the appropriate columns. Once all the notes are placed, allow students time to observe the pattern of sticky notes.

Display slide 6. Instruct students to take out a sheet of notebook paper to use in an I Notice, I Wonder reflection. Have them draw a line down the center of the paper and label the left column “I Notice” and the right column “I Wonder.”

Ask students to write a statement in the left column about what they notice about the pattern of sticky notes. After a minute or two of writing, have them share their observations with a partner. After a brief discussion, ask pairs to each share one observation with the class.

After the class discussion, ask partners to identify two questions that they still have about the bar graph results and list those in the right column of their charts. Have partners share their questions with the class. Compile a list of all the questions or have students turn in their papers. Tell students that these questions will be revisited at the end of the lesson.

In a general class discussion, ask students to share what they know about how people support themselves (make house payments, pay bills, buy food, etc.) after they retire or stop working.


Display slide 7. Tell students that, on average, people in Oklahoma retire at age 63 (Source: Department of Labor). The average life expectancy, however, is 79. That means there’s a 16-year difference between the average age of retirement and the average life expectancy. If people retire (stop working) at age 63 but live until 79, how do they support themselves? Pose the question on the slide: How do people live without working for 16 or more years?

Display slide 8, which asks students to calculate how much money they would need in retirement if they retired at age 63 and lived until age 79.

Display slide 9, which explains the idea posed by financial experts that people can live on less money because their houses could be paid off by the time they retire or they might not have as big a car payment or need child care.

Have students calculate the yearly income for retirement on slide 10 based on this lower estimation.

Explain to students that regardless of the amount of money needed for retirement, people in the workforce need to think about their future BEFORE they are too old or decide not to work.


Display slide 11. Pass out copies of the Compound Interest Student Reading. Ask for volunteers to read the three sections of the article. As they listen and follow along, ask students to think about the question "What is the difference between compound interest and simple interest?" At the end of the reading, ask for volunteers to explain their answer to the question.

Display slide 12. Place students in working pairs. Pass out a copy of The Story of Kami and Jamil and Alex to each student. Read the two scenarios aloud and ask students who (Kami, Jamil, or Alex) they predict will earn the most money from their investment. Have pairs work together to complete the handout. Allow one class period (approximately 45 minutes) for students to complete this activity, their calculations, and the question section.

Call on pairs to share their answers from the handout as time allows. This activity can be used as an assessment.


Display slide 13. Now that students have investigated how personal savings, especially with compound interest, can add up, they will explore other financial resources that people typically use in their plans to save for retirement.

Tell students that they will be researching the different types of financial income that are often used for retirement purposes beyond personal savings. Assign students one of the other financial resources on slide 13:

  1. Social Security

  2. Medicare

  3. Employer retirement plans

  4. 401(K)

  5. Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs

  6. Mutual funds

  7. Stock market (stocks and bonds)

Display slide 14 and pass out a copy of the Financial Resource Frayer Model to each student. Ask students to write their assigned financial resource in the center of the Frayer Model.

Use slide 14 as a model of what students should be looking for during their research. Allow at least one class period for students to complete this research. You can optionally provide students with a printed or digital copy of the Financial Resource Links attachment to help them find appropriate references.

After students complete their Frayer Models, allow time for students who were assigned the same financial resource to meet together and compare their findings. Students should discuss and share the information they found and refine or add to their Frayer Models based upon their group's discussion. While they discuss, they will also prepare a poster on a sheet of chart tablet paper to share information about their financial resource with the class.

As groups present their posters, have other class members take notes about the various financial resources available for retirement on the back of their Frayer Model handouts.


Post on the board the I Wonder questions from the Engage activity. Go through the questions and see if they were answered during the lesson. If not, you could ask students to research the questions that are unanswered and share the next day as an optional activity.

Display slide 15, which includes an optional Exit Ticket activity. Ask students to respond to the two questions posted on the slide. For each question, they should write one paragraph that demonstrates their understanding. This Exit Ticket will serve as their evaluation for the lesson.